Who writes your script?
Each one of us has one. It’s the story we tell ourselves. It’s our vision of reality as we know it. It’s the mental map we have of how the “real world” works.
It’s the lines we rehearse under our breath as we drive down the road. It’s the snatches of language in a sluice of thoughts and emotions that come to us as we walk down the street, sit at our desk, or stand in the grocery store line. It’s the thoughts we have as we sit in the dark late at night (or early in the morning) trying to make some sense and figure out what to do next. as if we are twiddling the knobs to tune in to something we know not what. It’s that subtext flowing through your brain as you manage to listen to what she says across the table and at the same time start plotting out what you want to jump in and say back before she’s even done. It’s your intuition, your snap-judgment about a person or place or event.
Who writes your script? And where did you get it? Are you conscious about it – or does it just flow?
If you think you write your own lines and sketch your own map, guess again. Scripts come from experience, tv, lyrics we drink from, what we read, who we follow, who we creep on, the things we believe, the stuff we were taught, the things we feel, the people we hang around the most, the place we’re born. To a fish, it’s water; to you, it’s just your life.
We all have a script. Sometimes we’re conscious of it, sometimes we’re blind to it. Sometimes it seems to give life, sometimes it seems like a prison.
But your script isn’t inevitable. Interruptions and huge shifts are possible. Attention and discipline are possible. But what makes the script’s lines come to a full stop, the stream to a screeching halt? When you get hit with a question.
Why do you call me good?
Why are you so afraid?
What do you want me to do for you?
Why do you worry about clothes – or your life?
Who are you looking for?
What could you give in exchange for your soul?
Who do you say that I am?
Questions that call for … response.
The truth is, we’re all locked in a script until the questions break in from outside. And you realize you are not alone: someone is speaking to you, calling to you. And the voice speaks of a life beyond this life you know, a new creation with real work in it for you to do, a glory brighter than the sun, a love wider than the ocean, a price greater than everything you have, a tremendous mystery deeper than you can fathom. A new story for you to live in.
Do you hear it?
[note: I wrote this after reading the late, great David Foster Wallace’s comments in a commencement address.]